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     The Uncanny X-Men was a great comic book when I was a kid. And the first X-Men movie was pretty good too.  It did a very good job of bringing the comic book to the screen with a nice cast including Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.  But what made it entertaining for me was that it didn't take itself too seriously.  My favorite moment was when Wolverine proves to Cyclops that he isn't just Mystique shapeshifting by calling Cyclops a dick.  Unfortunately the sequel, X2, which picks up where the last movie left off, has lost the fun and most of the actors seem to be taking themselves way too seriously. One exception is a new mutant on the scene, Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) who plays his role with happy abandon.  The roll call of good and bad mutants are back including Storm (Halle Berry), Rogue (Anna Pacquin), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos).  New mutants include Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Pyro (Aaron Stanford).  You can guess what they do.
      The plot involves a sinister spook (Brian Cox) who just came in from the cold and would fit right in with the Bush Administration.  He is dedicated to solving the mutant problem by killing all of them, good and bad.  This threat drives the arch-enemies, Professor X (Stewart) and Magneto (McKellen) to work together. But you know it won't last and that Magneto will try and work out his anger issues by trying to kill Professor X.  Stewart and McKellen remain the best things about the X-Men.  Stewart, as the good mutant, has to act stoic, but McKellen gets to have much more fun as the bad mutant doing a riff on Hannibal Lecter.  Hugh Jackman looks very good in a t-shirt as do all the ex-models in the cast.

         The plot of X2 just didn't hold my interest. There was no suspense about what was going to happen.  And, it all seemed very derivative the second time around. Besides, Stewart and McKellen, only Cumming and Romijn-Stamos look like they are having fun with their roles.  For the other mutants, it's  just a job now. Luckily, Cox is a pretty good bad guy.  He's killing the mutants and he's enjoying it, like an evil villain should. But it's not enough and even the "shock" ending can't save X2.  I would wait and rent it.